Basement Remodel

So a long time ago we planned to finish our basement. Unemployment put a hold on that plan, but we both got were re-employeed. This fall we ramped into full swing. Before Thanksgiving I did some electrical prep adding lights and painted the ceiling black. Then the day after Thanksgiving we had a big order of materials delivered. Continue reading

Our home is a little bit smarter

This weekend I installed our new thermostat. The house came with a programmable thermostat so it could adjust the heat/cold for when we were scheduled to sleep and at work, but I wanted more flexibility. What about when we are gone during the weekend, or if we decide to stay home on the weekend. If we leave I don’t know when we will be back, but want to save some money and carbon emissions, but don’t want to have a cold home when we get there. Continue reading


I am getting close to wrapping up work on our basement. We can’t wait to have a new sewing/craft, family, play space. Right now it seems so big, but once we are able to move in I am sure it will fill up and seem small.

The current status is almost ready to paint. It was primed last week and last night I did a second round of checking/mudding flaws. Tomorrow I plan to sand the new areas and hopefully prime them. I may even get to paint this weekend, then on to doors and trim. I have been pretty bad about taking pictures along the way, but when it is done I will post the ones I have.

Getting stuff done

Sometimes it is hard to get anything done around the house. This past few weeks have been productive. Eli has gotten to the point where he can help out. We made a set of coat hooks for short people. I replaced the old toilet seat with a nice new one. I even found a cheap one that is 100% recycled wood and made with an “eco friendly processes.” This weekend Bridgit and I moved the microwave form the counter to the pantry. It is nice having the extra counter space. Other tasks have been to fix a couple shelves in the lower kitchen cabinets, add more wine capacity in the basement, and put some grip tape on the side entry threshold.

Last night I changed the oil and rotated the tires on the Caviler and Eli got to help with the lugnuts. He sometimes needs to be told more then once not to play with tools. While I worked on the car, he worked on moving all the tools he could reach from the garage to the driveway, but when asked, he cleaned them up. Unfortunately, now I am going to have to hunt for them because most of the tools ended up in different homes.

Ski season is drawing to a close and Eli also had fun helping me with ski maintenance. He watched me apply wax and then helped scrape. He now associates any wax with skis: he saw a candle gingerbread man at my mother's house and asked to eat it. Bridgit told him that it was made of wax and he told her that he wanted to put it on my skis.


It's time to start thinking about New Year's resolutions. I saw this article on the This Old House blog about going green. It had some good resolutions.

Some of mine are:

  • Killing Vampires. We used to have the tv on a power strip that got turned off, but when we got a repalyTV we had to leave it on. I need to get it off the same strip as the TV and DVD players. The computer area probabbly a big draw. I can put the printer and scanner on a strip that goes into the UPS but gets turned off 99% of the time (or just unplug them since we use them so little). We recently set the computer to shut down at 11pm and we usually don't use it in the morning, so it will only be on a few hours a day. We also need to get better about switching off the strip with the cell phone chargers.

  • Stopping some gaps. The seal on the bottom of the side door is breaking off and I can see light through it. I also need to gasket or foam the outlets in the house.
  • Think about the upstairs. Our second story has original insulation over most of it. The problem is that all the easy places already have been bulked up. The whole cape cod shape makes it a real pain to add to the woefully inadequate insulation we have there. It pretty much requires a gutting.

Fall Cleaning

We got the two royalex canoes down in the basement. They get to winter down there to prevent cold-cracking because they are plastic boats with wood and the two materials have different expansion/contraction rates at extreme temperatures. Since they set up it means that the rest of the basement can be cleaned.

On the Wed. Bridgit and her mother cleaned the basement for me. Awesome!


Winter is coming… slowly. Thanksgiving weekend in Michigan had highs in the 50's. I have started to get things ready for winter. The canoes are washed, but the royalex boats need to be brought to the basement, which means there needs to be a rack built inside. This winter is supposed to be mild, so I may just leave them in garage.

The windows are all new Pella windows so they shouldn't need anything. The two doors are what are going to need weather stripping.

look ma, no gas

Our new lawnmower came yesterday, and it cooled down a bit today so this evening I mowed my ery own lawn for the first time. I had been considering an electirc mower and Jeff got one and liked it so we ordered a Back and Decker MM575 electric. It had 10% off for July and with free shipping it came to about $145. Not too bad. I just had to get an extention cord.

In use it was kinda like a blend of using a regular mower and a vacuum cleaner. Mowing by snaking away from the cord kept it out of the way. Our grass probabbly went 3 weeks without being mowed and in a few places I had to go over it on a high setting first or sometimes go slower than normal, not much different from a gas mower.